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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thoughts on Proverbs: How are we "building our house"?

"The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish ones tears hers down" 
Proverbs 14:1

I read through proverbs every month and this verse always causes me to pause and reflect.  I so desperately want to be the "wise woman" in this verse who "builds my house".  So, here are some thoughts that I jotted down for all of us to prayerfully consider. 

How am I building my house...

Spiritually:  Is Christ at the center of our homes?  Are we using everyday scenarios to practically teach our children biblical principles?

Emotionally:  Are we "building up" our children and husband with our words or tearing them down?  Are we establishing a home of peace and joy?  Do our husbands feel loved and welcomed when they come home from work?

Physically:  Are there areas in ours home that need organization?  Do we have proper systems and routines in place to make sure that our homes are in order?  Are we providing nutritional food for our family? 

I am still thinking and praying about these concepts and would love to hear how you apply this scripture in your own life. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Works for Me Wednesday: Organizing System

This winter, we have been working on reorganizing our basement.   This is our main "storage center" where we keep everything from camping supplies, "out of season" clothes, canning jars, and office supplies. 

We use a note card and file box system to track where everything is kept.

 Each storage bin is labeled with a number.


Then, on another index card, we put the matching number and write what's in the box.  All the cards are stored in the file box. 

(Sorry- this is a bad picture- it is of the file box!)

So, when I am looking for an item, all I have to do is open my file box, and that will tell me which box the item is in!  Very easy!  We are also using this system in our garage as well. 

I read about this system in a book several years ago.  I am sorry I don't remember which book, or I would cite the source! 

I love setting up organization systems!  So, I would love to know your organization tips too!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WFMW: Positive Reinforcement: The ticket system

All children love positive reinforcement.  A hug, smile, sticker, or treat can all be ways of saying "good job" to our children.  In our home, we try to implement a mixture of tangible rewards while giving lots of hugs and high fives for a job well done.

If your home is anything like ours, you may have a day(or two) where you think " my children have completely forgotten all the rules I have taught them"! 

A couple of months ago, I realized that my girls had stopped obeying us the FIRST time.  I had taught them "first time obedience" when they were very little.  However, all of a sudden, I was having to ask several times before they obeyed or followed my direction. 

So, I set up a ticket system.  I hung up an envelope on the fridge with each daughter's name on it.  Each time the girls obeyed right away, they were given a ticket to put in their envelope.(or you can use small cut-up paper)  After dinner each night, we counted the tickets and the girls were rewarded with one small treat for each ticket.

Here's some practical steps for implementing the ticket system:

1.  Choose ONE specific behavior you want to see improved:  This could be saying "excuse me" instead of interrupting, saying " please" when asking for something, etc. .  It is important the kids have 1 behavior to focus on at a time. 

2.  Role model and practice:  I used some of the girls' dolls and pretended that one was the mommy and the other was the daughter.  The mommy doll gave a direction and the daughter doll obeyed right away.  Then, I had the girls pretend to play and quickly put their toy down and obey when I gave a direction. 

3.  Keep tickets in your pocket!  This makes it so easy!  Put tickets in your pocket in the morning.  When the kids earn a ticket, have them take it to the kitchen and put in their envelopes.  This way, you don't have to stop what you are doing!

4.  This is a math lesson!  If you are doing this with little children, let them practice counting the tickets at night.  This allows them to practice counting with one-to-one correspondence!

5.You don't have to do this forever!  Once you feel improvement has been made, then you can stop or switch to another behavior. But keep praising with hugs and kisses!

This post is part of " Works for Me Wednesday".

Monday, February 14, 2011

Encouraging my "Perfectionist" Child

My daughter, Emma, is a 4 year old perfectionist.  She will often tell me that something “isn’t in the right order” and will become very upset if she cannot get her coloring picture to look “perfect”.  One day, we were in Kroger, and she was doodling on a notepad.  I noticed she was trying to write her name, which I thought was cute, because we hadn’t begun learning  to write that yet.  Within minutes, she was crying hysterically because she couldn’t get her letter “a” to look right. (it was actually pretty good, considering that she hasn’t been taught this yet)!

So, after dealing with several of these crying fits, I have developed some strategies for dealing with a 4 year old perfectionist.
1.        Give positive reinforcement as a child tries something new.  When Emma shows me a picture she has worked on, I always compliment her on the colors she has chosen, her picture idea, or for drawing  something for the first time.
2.       Modeling:  Sometimes Emma will ask me to draw something on her paper, saying “I don’t know how to draw it”.  I will draw part of it, and have her draw the rest.  For example, she was drawing a picture of a person, and didn’t know how to draw a shirt.  So, she watched me draw one of the sleeves, and then drew the next one.
3.       Talk about their emotions:  I have talked with Emma and explained that it is ok for something not to be “perfect”, but it is not ok for her to cry when she is frustrated.  Encourage them that it is ok to try again!
4.       Give an eraser! 

What about you?  Do you have a child who insists that everything should be perfect? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"WFMW" : The Family Clean-up

  I love the weekends!  We celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday; which is a whole day of family fun, rest, and worship.  On Sunday, we usually check-off a task on our "to do" list, and then fellowship with other believers at church. 

     But, every good thing must come to an end.  And to me, "the end" is Sunday night.  I look around the house, which by that point has gotten very messy, and I begin to dread Monday morning.  I have a pretty structured cleaning schedule during the week, but I do the bare minimum during the weekend so that I can spend every spare minute with my family.  So, on Mondays, I am usually greeted by a big mess!

     Therefore, I invented the "Family 10 minute clean-up".  On Sunday night, everyone is given a task to complete and we all get to work.  With everyone working, we can clean up a lot in a little bit of time. 

At the end, if we all worked hard, we gather to have dessert and pray for the week ahead as a family.  The dessert offers motivation to the girls.  It is such a nice way to end the weekend! 

What about you?  How do you prepare for the week ahead?

This post is part of " Works for Me Wednesday".

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cultivating a heart of Gratitude in the Home

" Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.  His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:1

I am amazed by all the blessings God pours into our lives.  He is so good!  But oftentimes, I forget all that He does.  It is so easy to miss the "everyday" blessings.  Last year, I created this board and hung it in our kitchen. 

It is a way to celebrate and remember the blessings that God bestows on our lives.  It is a way to visually give thanks to God for all that He has given us.  We keep cardstock and a marker nearby and post things that we are thankful for.  The girls participate in this too!

In what ways do you cultivate a thankful heart as a family?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Practical Suggestions for Connecting to the Vine

In my last post, I shared the importance of "staying connected to Christ".  Today, I am going to share some ways that I keep Christ at the center of our home. 

1.  Morning Prayer/Bible reading
              Waking before my family gets up and spending time with the Lord is such a blessing.(although I do not always achieve this:) )  I love the quietness of my home as I pray over my day, read scripture, and journal.  Since I am usually very tired, I have found that if my bible, journal, and pen are all in one place I can find it in the morning and quickly get started.  Sometimes, I even light a candle and drink a glass of tea.  It can be such a retreat before starting my day!
               Are your kids early risers?  If so, try  Monica's idea over at The Homespun Heart for making "bible study baskets" for your children.  These encourage the children to begin their own quiet times while you have your time with the Lord. 

2.  Hanging scripture on the wall
                My kitchen cabinet has several scriptures taped on it that I read daily.(because what mom doesn't spend most of her time in the kitchen?)  These scriptures usually pertain to something that I am struggling with.  For example, if I am struggling with worry, then I might write out the scripture in Matthew where Jesus commands us not to worry.  I try to read and meditate on these as I complete my daily tasks.

3.  Prayer throughout the day
                 During a season in my life where I was particulary worn out, my husband shared the story of Susannah Wesley with me.  Susannah had 19 children.  Despite her busyness, she spent lots of time in prayer.  Sometimes, she was found praying with her apron over her head for privacy!  My husband encouraged me to follow this example, especially when I am discouraged. There have been a few times that my daughters have walked into the kitchen to find me kneeling in prayer.  These moments with the Lord are so encouraging!
                  Of course, we should all strive to pray continuously as we go about our daily routines.  We can pray while washing dishes, changing diapers, etc. . 

4.  Listening to Worship Music
                   This one speaks for itself!

 I would love to hear some of your suggestions!